I am trying to remember when I first became self-conscious of my body. When did I go from being a happy-go-lucky girl to being ashamed of my body? I can’t pinpoint when that happened exactly. I remember when I was in fifth grade, wanting to look like other girls in my class because I was bigger. I remember boys in middle school making fun of my c-cup sized boobs. I remember when the insult “fat” was hurled at me like a torpedo when I’d get into an argument with my friend’s sister. In 6th grade, I remember crying myself to sleep a lot of nights because I thought that I was just so hideous and not good enough. This all breaks my heart. I’ve always thought that those experiences have made me into the strong confident woman that I am today. But looking back, I was a pretty strong person all along.
One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” I had this written on a sheet of paper that I carried around in my purse when I was in high school. Another quote from that same sheet of paper said, “Sticks and Stones can only break bones, but words can shatter the soul.” I’ve seen this quote attributed to Adam Savage. I think I came across it in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I read a lot of those back then. And my, how true those words are.
Words can wound pretty deeply and cause a lot of emotional damage. People can be so cruel, especially when they are hiding behind a computer screen. It is so shocking to me, some of the savage things I have read on the Internet – complete strangers hurling insults and unsolicited advice at anyone who is different than they are. I shudder to think about how my life would have been if I grew up in the age of social media. Being different or uncool was hard enough without the pressures of living life in such a public way - Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and probably a ton of other social media platforms that I am too old and out of touch to even know about. I don’t understand the desire to tear someone down to build you up. You are enough. Although I guess I can understand it a little since I tore myself down on a daily basis in the past because I didn’t realize that I was enough.
I don’t pretend to know the answers. How do we stop bullying? I know that education is important - education about bullying, education about positive body image, education about self-worth, education about love. I also think that some bullying is learned behavior. It’s up to all of us to be positive role models for our youth. Let me say that again: It’s up to ALL of us.
I try not to preach about things because I definitely don’t have the answers. People get bullied for all kinds of reasons, not just about weight or body image. All I knew to do was to cry and let it out and tap into that inner strength to get through it, because it did get better. It took me a while to get to the place in my life where I knew that I was enough, but I got there. So for all those that are out there struggling, please know that you are not alone. You are never alone. Also know that you are enough. No matter what, you are enough. All of our strengths and weaknesses and quirks make up this wonderful tapestry of life. I know that sounds so cheesy, but I realize it more and more every day. If any of you ever feel that it’s a little overwhelming or you're struggling with the “enough” part, please reach out to me. And for everyone else that gets it - all of you who realize your self-worth and know that you are enough in life, don’t you want to lend a helping hand to others on that journey from time-to-time?
This is a post by PumpUp member @k_c, a vivacious blogger based in Central Arkansas. Learn more about her through her blog: voluptuousmisadventures.com.